The ancient spring festival of Nowruz is currently being celebrated by millions of people around the world, including Iranians, Kurds, Afghans, Azeris, Americans and the peoples of Central Asia.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent greetings to all those celebrating Nowruz and best wishes for a new year of happiness, health, and prosperity.
“Nowruz is a symbol of rebirth,” wrote Secretary Blinken. “It is an opportunity to spend time with family and friends by the haft sin table, sharing wishes for the year ahead.”
Secretary Blinken noted that the past year has been particularly hard for many who celebrate. “The people of Iran have faced a brutal crackdown at the hands of the Islamic Republic,” he said. “Many families face an empty chair at their Nowruz table this year as friends and family members have been killed or detained by Iranian authorities.”
At the White House, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden hosted a Nowruz celebration. They also spoke of the hardships suffered by Iranians.
The First Lady noted, in particular, the bravery of Iranian women and girls who took to the streets demanding freedom.
“As the battle cry of ‘women, life, freedom’ continues to reverberate around the world, we cannot celebrate the renewal of spring without thinking of them,” she said. “So to the girls and women of Iran, I want to say: Your song sings in our hearts. We see your struggle, and we stand with you. You are not alone.”
President Biden emphasized the Nowruz theme of hope:
“Hope for families in Turkey and Syria, who grieve for the loss of far too many loved ones from that devastating earthquake.
“Hope for people in Afghanistan who continue to struggle with a grave humanitarian crisis.
“Hope for women of Iran who are fighting for their human rights and fundamental freedoms . . . Together with our partners, we’re going to hold Iranian officials accountable for their attacks against their people.”
President Biden pointed to a line from the 14th century Persian poet Hafiz: “Out of great need, we are holding hands and climbing.”
“All around the world,” said President Biden, “the need is great. This holiday offers a moment to reach out – reach out and together, to begin to climb toward a new day, one full of hope and new possibilities.”